Clark JM Jazz Mandolin
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Sage Wisdom

"Good improvisation communicates harmonic progression melodically. Effective melodies manipulate harmonic content through the use of guide tones and preparatory gravity notes, masterfully woven in systematic tension, release, and transparent harmonic definition."

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November 27, 2005 | Dynamic Results

Discriminate loudness; it's something everyone longs for at one time or another but have you ever stopped to analyze how you can achieve it with just your pick? Sure, a better cannon of an instrument might help you play louder, but what do you do when you want to play with dynamics? (Not just loud, loud, and louder...)

Look no farther than your Right Hand, the pick. For now, let's just focus on the downstroke and three different variables to a loud attack, assuming you have a stable set in your left hand finger:

Pick force: A strong downward thrust will yield a louder attack. Simply forcing faster, and not farther gives you volume and control.

Pick distance: Start the pick higher and you develop more force without necessarily demanding more strength. Note the trade-off here may well be less control, and because of a longer follow-through, less time to recover for the upstroke.

Pick angle: Tilt the right side of the pick inward and you'll notice a difference in tone and volume. Sometimes this simple twist can give you a richer sound.

There's a time and a place for attention to each one of these approaches to volume. For speed, you'll want more force, for definition, you'll want more stroke. Sometimes in slower passages, a simple inward twist of the pick will give you richer tone.

Posted by Ted at November 27, 2005 11:41 AM

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